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Long-Simmering Instagram Fashionista Feud Goes Public

Two of Chicago’s top social media personalities, who happen to have very similar feeds, are clashing about who’s copying whom.

Who wore it first?   Photos: (left) @jenniferlake and (right) @rclayton/Instagram

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but judging by a recent post on Jenn Lake’s fashion blog, Style Charade, she doesn’t agree.

Titled “What to do when you’re being copied on Instagram,” the post accuses an unnamed Instagrammer of copying Lake’s exact outfits, images, and ideas.

Though the accused was not named in the post, social media attention was immediately turned upon Rosie Clayton, who owned the now-shuttered Bucktown boutique Roslyn. The rivalry between these former close friends has been simmering for years, and the two are some of the top Instagrammers from Chicago—who do, indeed, have incredibly similar feeds.

On the blog, Lake, who is a senior vice president at public relations firm Zapwater, writes, “To sum up the problem, someone has been using my Instagram account as a template for their own. This person has systematically copied my channel, captions, location concepts, and personal style for more than three years.” Lake alleges that the copycat has cost her lucrative campaigns with fashion brands, which sometimes ask them to work together.

Clayton launched her Instagram in November 2011, with Lake following one month after. Their feeds are nearly indistinguishable: similar (and sometimes identical) feminine dresses shot against colorful wall murals.

Reached by phone in Miami while attending Art Basel, Clayton told Chicago the finger should be pointing in the opposite direction. “I’m not connected with certain big fashion bloggers and I don’t have a blog [like Lake]. Because I have less followers it looks like I’m the one copying,” she said. (Lake has 149,000 followers, while Clayton has 119,000.)

She mentions that a lot of the clothing and jewelry they wear are popular brands and designs that many women like, and specifically says she started using pun-heavy captions first (think: “shape of hue,” “pink happy thoughts,” and “would you be-leaf it”). Lake posted a few puns in the summer of 2013 but really ramped up in the spring of 2014; Clayton started punning in the fall of 2014. Both women wear sunglasses in almost every photo, which Clayton began doing in June 2016 and Lake in September 2016.

Lake declined to comment about the subject of her blog post or the details of the situation.

We combed the two Instagram feeds to find the most recent posts that mirror each other.

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